<\body> Stories in America: The Hidden War on Women in Iraq

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Hidden War on Women in Iraq

I'm working on a story about sexual assault in the military and just found the following article by Ruth Rosen.

When you have a chance, please read the entire article. As the TV 'pundits' debate gay marriage, the Democrats "cut and run" strategy, and Ann Coulter's latest remarks, lives are forever being changed. The Bush administration hasn't talked about liberating Iraqi women in a while now; perhaps they realize the majority of Americans are sick of the lies.
Abu Ghraib. Haditha. Guantanamo. These are words that shame our country. Now, add to them Mahmudiya, a town 20 miles south of Baghdad. There, this March, a group of five American soldiers allegedly were involved in the rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza, a young Iraqi girl. Her body was then set on fire to cover up their crimes, her father, mother, and sister murdered. The rape of this one girl, if proven true, is probably not simply an isolated incident. But how would we know? In Iraq, rape is a taboo subject. Shamed by the rape, relatives of this girl wouldn't even hold a public funeral and were reluctant to reveal where she is buried.

Like women everywhere, Iraqi women have always been vulnerable to rape. But since the American invasion of their country, the reported incidence of sexual terrorism has accelerated markedly -- and this despite the fact that few Iraqi women are willing to report rapes either to Iraqi officials or to occupation forces, fearing to bring dishonor upon their families. In rural areas, female rape victims may also be vulnerable to "honor killings" in which male relatives murder them in order to restore the family's honor. "For women in Iraq," Amnesty International concluded in a 2005 report, "the stigma frequently attached to the victims instead of the perpetrators of sexual crimes makes reporting such abuses especially daunting."

No one accuses American soldiers of running through the streets of Iraq, raping women as an instrument of war against the insurgents (though such acts are what caused three Bosnian soldiers, for the first time in history, to be indicted in 2001 for the war crime of rape).

Still, the invasion and occupation of Iraq has had the effect of humiliating, endangering, and repressing Iraqi women in ways that have not been widely publicized in the mainstream media: As detainees in prisons run by Americans, they have been sexually abused and raped; as civilians, they have been kidnapped, raped, and then sometimes sold for prostitution; and as women -- and, in particular, as among the more liberated women in the Arab world -- they have increasingly disappeared from public life, many becoming shut-ins in their own homes.


At 7/18/2006 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rapes, torture, murder and mutiliations are just a cold hard reflection of the dark side of human nature. It is during these times when one must wonder whether being human makes us all that different from being an animal.

Unfortunately, cases like this and others illustrate how human beings and in this case Americans, are not the all supreme, intelligent, heavenly beings that we would like to believe that we are. It is in instances of war, poverty and despair that we begin to see the true moral makeup of a person. By all indications, the so-called morals and ethics of some of these American soldiers in Iraq as well as in the prisons have left a lot to be desired. It is important to note that this type of perverse behaviour has been observed and documented in every conflict or war that mankind has been a part of. There is no good or evil in war. There is no right or wrong. In fact, who has the right to say who is right or wrong anyway? Our government? Maybe the people who have the most guns, planes and warships...

Speaking of our government, although it likes to loudly promote itself and its armed forces as being of a higher moral standard and so-called "protectors of freedom", it goes frighteningly quiet whenever incidents like the above surface.


Post a Comment

<< Home